This article is from Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join their free mailing list, as this helps provide more public service reporting. For women survivors of sex trafficking struggling to make ends meet, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated an already desperate situation. Funding programs to support them have shifted to more urgent crisis funding— to house and feed the homeless, for example. Losing financial and food security only places these already scuffling women at an even greater risk of being trafficked again to earn money just to survive.
Lots of forfeiture money goes to association outside of public purview; giving checks directly to kids
This article is from Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join their free mailing list, as this helps provide more public service reporting. When the Vinton County Fair was canceled because of the pandemic, outgoing County Prosecutor Trecia Kimes-Brown wrote $100 checks to every child who completed a 4-H project this year. She did so in the name of anti-drug education through her Law Enforcement Trust Fund (LETF) account.
The move stoked the ire of Vinton County Auditor Cindy Waugh, who did not like the fact that Kimes-Brown gave cash directly to people right before her reelection campaign. (Though Kimes-Brown eventually lost anyway.)
The death of Breonna Taylor renewed interest in police forfeiture raids, and Eye on Ohio asked every prosecutor about their LETF accounts, the fund that benefits from seized cash. Eye on Ohio found:
A lot of money goes to anti-drug education.
Ohio Department of Job and Family Services tries to bolster its own workforce by posting jobs with no medical benefits in pandemic
This article is from Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join their free mailing list, as this helps provide more public service reporting. Amid a raging pandemic, Ohio’s agency responsible for looking out for workers’ welfare has started posting full-time temporary jobs with no benefits for its own workforce.
For example, this week the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) sought to hire an “electronic design specialist,” a job that requires a bachelor’s degree, years of experience, or some combination of both. The hours listed are full time, with a schedule that is “not negotiable” and the position is “not eligible” for benefits.
As total COVID-19 cases in the state soared to nearly 600,000 and deaths rose to almost 8,000, Eye on Ohio asked why the positions are listed without medical benefits when large employers have to give most of their workforce— even temporary workers— medical insurance eventually under the Affordable Care Act, or pay a penalty.
A spokesman for ODJFS said “Benefit eligibility under the ACA for temporary or part-time positions is determined based on the length of time employed and hours worked during that period of time.”
Eye on Ohio further inquired if the positions have a set end date and why officials listed positions with no health care as the chances of getting a debilitating disease have risen. Officials did not respond to multiple requests to comment.
Each job posting begins with, “The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services’ mission is to improve the well-being of Ohio's workforce and families by promoting economic self-sufficiency and ensuring the safety of Ohio's most vulnerable citizens.”
But it’s not clear if ODJFS’ own workers could be self-sufficient with its own positions: according to Heatlhcare.gov, a monthly premium for a nonsmoking family of four in Columbus is approximately $810. That’s about 24% of what an ODJFS electronic design would make after taxes.
5 media outlets, Harvard Law’s Cyberlaw Clinic, and 16 data journalists, including Eye on Ohio join effort to gain access to federal database records
This article is from Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join their free mailing list, as this helps provide more public service reporting. On Thursday, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said authorities must hand over database records just as if they were paper records in a file cabinet.
Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw wrote: “Government transparency is critical to ensure the people have the information needed to check public corruption, hold government leaders accountable, and elect leaders who will carry out their preferred policies.”
Reveal, the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), originally sued for records in November 2017. The Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) never responded. ATF’s gun tracing database lists 6.8 million firearms linked to criminal activity.
Coming out while stuck inside: LGBTQ+ youth and young adults face unique mental health risks as pandemic rages on
When Tyler, a sophomore at Cleveland State University, started hormone replacement therapy two months before spring break, the last thing he expected was to spend the rest of the semester with his parents in Westbrook, New York. Tyler had been living with three other trans students he befriended through CSU’s LGBTQ+ Student Services before campus housing closed in mid-March. When Tyler moved in with his parents, they were still uncomfortable with his trans identity and were not using his preferred pronouns (he/his).
“I wasn’t out in high school and college was the first place I felt like I was actually able to be myself,” Tyler said. “I felt like my sense of community was ripped away all at once.”
Those first few months of quarantine, when Tyler didn’t have a laptop and couldn’t access CSU’s online counseling or the LGBTQ+ center’s virtual drop-ins, were emotionally rough. “The conversations I had with my parents were conversations I was not prepared for, especially being on hormones.
This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join our free mailing list as this helps us provide more public service reporting. Miracle M. wrapped her arms around herself and rocked back and forth as she retold the story of her premature daughter’s death. Her daughter was born at 22 weeks, weighed nearly four pounds, and died in 12 hours.
“Even after she died, I held her for two more days. I could not let her go,” said Miracle.
Three years after its failed bid at a merger with Cleveland, the poorest city in the state of Ohio ventures a comeback
EAST CLEVELAND — After dropping off a “wet one” (a man high on PCP) at University Hospitals Emergency Room, the ambulance pulled northeast onto Euclid Avenue near Cleveland’s border with East Cleveland. The mirror-finish of The Museum of Contemporary Art reflected trees in full summer bloom as the two East Cleveland firefighters made their way back to their engine house. They cruised by fast-casual restaurants in gleaming new buildings and the Case Western Reserve University Bookstore and the Cleveland Institute of Art building named for George Gund — the mid-20th-century Cleveland banker and philanthropist — before barreling under the concrete and wrought iron railroad bridge that separates Cleveland’s booming University Circle neighborhood from the broken-down streets of East Cleveland. “The scenery sure does change,” said Kyle Soca, the rookie piloting the squad, as the bridge shrank in the rearview mirror and the sidewalks became populated with boarded up storefronts and crumbling apartment buildings. State Sen. Kenny Yuko, who represents both sides of the bridge in the Ohio legislature, stated it more bluntly.